Since 1986, The River Project has operated a multi-faceted marine field station in what is now the Hudson River Park Estuarine Sanctuary.
The River Project’s goal is to help protect and restore the ecosystem of the Hudson River Estuary through scientific research and education programs. Currently at Pier 40, TRP continues to provide hands-on programming that looks at and monitors the progressive ecosystem dynamics, urban marine habitats, and the biota of the Harbor.
A fundamental and unique quality of TRP’s programs is rooted in conducting scientific research in a public setting and connecting the people of New York and visitors from around the world to the marvels and mysteries of New York Harbor and the Hudson River Estuary.
TRP has performed many various field studies of the Hudson River ecosystem over the years. These studies have produced a comprehensive database of fish, colonization studies of shoreline invertebrates, surveys of keystone species such as oysters, and a variety of public demonstrations of fish species diversity, abundance and behavior. The River Project is highly integrated into and engaged with life in our local community, and with educational and environmental partners at the civic, city, state and federal level.
The River Project is an original part of Hudson River Park, a vibrant waterfront park on Manhattan's lower west side. TRP supported development of park plans to include designation of Pier 26 as an environmental center to be landscaped in native coastal plantings; several 'eco-piers' that will be allowed to naturalize to help sustain wading birds and other wildlife; and public docks and boat launches.
In May 2005 the Hudson River Park Trust announced receipt of funds to rebuild the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park, and The River Project has now relocated within the park to offices, storage space, and waterfront field station and lab facilities at Pier 40.
Despite the Hudson’s history and reputation of less-than-stellar water quality, the river is the cleanest it has been in the past century. The Lower Estuary and Harbor support a rich biodiversity with hundreds of species of fish and thousands of species of invertebrates. In fact, the waters along the Lower West Side are so diverse and sustain so many important species that they have been designated as an estuarine sanctuary by the state. This protective designation was in-part granted using The River Project's fish ecology data.